MSC Grandiosa and Magnifica will restart operations in the Mediterranean on 16 and 29 August, respectively, MSC Cruises has confirmed.
MSC Grandiosa will offer seven-night cruises in the Western Mediterranean calling at Genoa, Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo and Valetta.
MSC Magnifica will offer seven-night cruises in the Eastern Mediterranean departing from Bari and Trieste and calling at the Greek ports of Corfu, Katakolon and Piraeus.
As reported, MSC Cruises last week outlined a retailing framework in line with stringent health and safety directives to aid and enhance the onboard guest experience.
The framework has been devised in coordination with Duty Free World Council guidelines, experts at Aspen Medical Consulting and advice from brands and partners.
‘FIRST IMPORTANT STEP’
In a note to industry partners, MSC Head of Retail Adrian Pittaway hailed the ‘first important step in a long journey back for us, our onboard retail family and all our travel retail trade partners’.
The two ships will be the first to introduce a new health and safety protocol approved by relevant national authorities from countries called on by the ships during their voyages.
This includes coronavirus (Covid-19) tests for all guests and crew prior to embarkation, protected ashore visits via excursions and the introduction of a Covid-19 protection plan for guests.
MSC Cruises says the protocol goes beyond guidelines provided by key international and regional regulatory and technical bodies as well as regulations set out by governments.
Independent maritime certification corporation RINA has verified that the protocol meets the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) guidance, which incorporates added health standards from the EU Healthy Gateways Joint Action, and others.
Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises commented: “We are very pleased to be able to start welcoming back guests for full-experience cruise holidays this summer, on board two of our most popular ships including our flagship MSC Grandiosa, and in the Mediterranean, the very region where our company’s roots are and we have long been market leaders.”
MSC Cruises has cancelled all other trips in the Mediterranean from 16-31 August, while US-departing trips have been restricted up to and including the 31 October as per a recent CLIA advisory.
Far East cruises from 10 September through to and including 26 October have also been cancelled.
“This proactive action further demonstrates the cruise industry’s commitment to public health and willingness to voluntarily suspend operations in the interest of public health and safety, as has occurred twice prior,” stated MSC Cruises.
The company says it continues to follow the Covid-19 situation, which will inform the reintroduction of further ships during the summer period.
Full details on MSC programmes commencing from October to November 2021 have already been released.
For more from MSC Cruises, watch out for the global cruise and ferry report available in the September issue of TRBusiness.
Video courtesy of Youtube/MSC Cruises Official.